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New push for tourism cooperation

With the aim of attracting 25 million international visitors from 2013 to 2015 to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CVLM) the respective ministers of tourism pushed for greater cooperation in developing the region’s tourism sector on Friday,  according to the Vietnamese Communist Party official news outlet.

At a conference held in Ho Chi Minh City, the ministers also planned for at least four million “exchange visitors” between the four countries, Sai Gon Giai Phnong newspaper reported.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said increasing tourists visiting the region is possible.

“Cambodia alone plans to attract 4.5 million international visitors in 2015,” he said.  The four countries have around 10 World Heritage sites, adding that they attract tourists from all over the world, he added.  
Visiting tourists these days try to see more than just one country and Vietnam Airlines plans a new flight route between Saigon and Jakarta, promoting to travel between the two ASEAN countries, Ang said.

Poev Ponarak, managing director of Asia Corner Travel, which mainly works with European and American tourists, said CLMV's goals are laudable,  but he still sees the region’s limited infrastructure as a hindrance.  

“I think we still need many more years to develop the tourism services,” he said.

At the conference, the ministers also reviewed the implementation of the Ministerial Joint Statement on CLMV tourism cooperation signed in 2010.   According to ASEAN tourist statistics, 81.2 million tourists visited the ASEAN region in 2011, compared to 73.6 million in 2010.

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